President Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr Prime Minister,
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are very happy to have the opportunity to receive the Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis in Moscow. I am certain that his first visit to Russia in the 21st century will be productive and interesting, and will have serious significance in the development of Russian-Greek relations.
I would like to note the special, friendly and very well-disposed atmosphere of our meeting. I must say that this atmosphere of interaction has become a good tradition in relations between our countries, a tradition which we value highly and try to support.
According to our estimates, Russian-Greek partnership is developing confidently and dynamically. An example of the important results of this meeting is the documents that we just signed. They are a Joint Declaration on further strengthening of relations of friendship and comprehensive interaction, and also the Joint plan of action for 2005–2006 between Russia and Greece.
On the basis of these documents, our countries have the ability to increase our interaction in the economic and in the humanitarian sphere and on the international stage.
One of the central topics of our discussion is of course trade and economic interaction. Interaction in the energy sphere has key significance for our countries. I would note that Russia is prepared to increase deliveries of natural gas to Greece and take part in developing its energy infrastructure, including electrical energy.
Priority tasks remaining are: diversifying trade, and activating scientific-technical and industrial cooperation. An important component of our interaction has always been and remains ties in the area of science, culture and education. We intend to continue assisting humanitarian projects in future. We intend to give special attention to maintaining and consolidating our common religious heritage.
During our meeting, the Prime Minister and I exchanged opinions on key problems of international politics. We are satisfied that our views on many positions practically coincide.
We gave serious attention to the important topic of neutralising the terrorist threat. Today we signed a Joint Declaration on cooperation in the war on terrorism. I am sure that realisation of these agreements will serve to strengthen security for both Greece and Russia, and in general ensure stability in southeast Europe and the Mediterranean, and the peaceful future of our common greater Europe.
We also discussed issues of interaction between Russia and the EU. We discussed the situation in the Balkans, in particular in Kosovo. We confirmed our position for comprehensive and firm regulation on Cyprus on the basis of the according resolutions of the UN General Secretary, and the plan that was recently proposed by the General Secretary. Of course, this takes into account the opinions of Cypriot communities themselves.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for the constructive and very trusting nature of our talk. And I hope for success and realisation of all the agreements that were reached between us today. Thank you.
Konstantinos Karamanlis: First of all I would like to thank the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin, for the exceptional hospitality that he showed us today.
The friendly and constructive talks that were held today reflect the excellent climate of mutual relations and the stable basis of Russian-Greek relations
Above all, the President and I made a survey and assessment of our bilateral relations, which I would like to say at an exceptionally good level. We noted in particular that significant progress can be seen in such areas as our political cooperation, energy and security, and culture.
Of course, there are still many prospects for further development of our economic mutual relations, where Greece could take a more active part to develop its economic activity and cooperation with the Russian Federation, and fully realise all of its economic capabilities that have arisen thanks to cooperation with the Russian Federation.
Thus, economic cooperation is one of the priority tasks in our mutual relations with the Russian Federation. We thus expect that there will be new, wider prospects in our bilateral relations. These prospects are expressed in the signing today of a whole range of bilateral documents.
Accordingly, these documents that we have signed today are: the Joint Declaration on further strengthening of relations between our countries and comprehensive interaction between our countries, a Joint plan of actions for 2005–2005 and a Joint Declaration on cooperation in the war on terrorism.
These documents express the desire of our countries to make our bilateral mutual relations more intensive and systematic. We have also made the decision for bilateral cooperation and interaction in the war on new challenges and threats, which now appear on the international stage, and thus affect the interests of all peoples and countries.
We also talked about the Cyprus problem, especially in the light of the current state of affairs on the island, and the development of events this year. We stressed that a solution to the political problem on the island should be functional and viable, coordinated and above all guided by Kofi Annan’s plan. Naturally, this decision must fully correspond to the according resolutions of the United Nations, and also correspond to the principles followed by the European Union.
I expressed my gratitude to Mr Putin and the assessment on behalf of the Greek government for the stable position taken by the Russian Federation on the Cyprus issue. This position shows the consistency and above all respect for the United Nations resolution and international law. These are the elements which are fundamental directions in Greek foreign policy.
It is in this spirit that we intend to build our cooperation with the Russian Federation in the framework of the UN Security Council, where Greece will be a non-permanent member from 1 January 2005 for the next two years.
Now to the issue of the west Balkans. We agreed that the situation has not been fully stabilised, and that there is still a danger that it may worsen. Greece believes it is expedient and necessary for all sides to join in the efforts required for regulating problems in this region.
Another important topic that we discussed is our cooperation in the framework of the Organisation of Black Sea economic cooperation, especially in light of the fact that Greece is currently the head of this organisation. I would remind you that this organisation has 12 member countries.
In the broad sense, the Black Sea region is also a critical area for our regional cooperation. As the head of the organisation, Greece has announced that it will use all the means to further increase the activity of this organisation and work actively towards closer cooperation with the Russian Federation.
Among the more specific topics that we discussed, I must also mention the Burgas-Alexandropolis oil pipeline. An intergovernmental memorandum has currently been signed by three governments: Russia, Bulgaria and Greece. Accordingly, it should soon be signed by the competent ministries, so that we can begin realisation and construction of this oil pipeline and at the same time solve a range of economic and trade issues of this project.
We also talked about mutual relations between the Russian Federation and the European Union and NATO. Russia is the strategic partner of these two organisations, and Greece, as a member of these two organisations, fully promotes the strengthening and deepening of mutual relations between Russia and Europe.
We believe that European integration cannot be fully completed if both sides of the European continent do not have full and complementary participation. And this interaction must exist in all areas. Especially today, when we are facing a huge number of dangers that represent a threat to the entire world.
It is frequently difficult to control the appearance of this danger. Here we are above all speaking of the threat of international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and organised crime. These things must all be fought against. We can do this and solve these problems only by uniting our efforts. Especially when we are speaking of international terrorism, which has recently affected Russia and the entire Russian people.
I must note that Greece categorically condemns any form of terrorism, which is a crime against mankind. We fully share the position of the Russian Federation, which is fighting above all for the protection of human lives and a worthy existence for its citizens. Accordingly, the unstable situation and a whole range of dangers and threats to peace can be seen in nearby and more remote regions that border on both of our countries.
Going from the deep historical ties that unite our peoples and guided by the prospects for further intensification of these bilateral relations, President Vladimir Putin and I have today confirmed our readiness to make even greater efforts to develop cooperation both at a bilateral level, and in the framework of the entire international community.